VIII. Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures


Grading Procedures

Feedback to students on work completed or in progress is an integral part of teaching and learning in that it allows students to measure their understanding of material and their progress on learning objectives. Feedback often goes beyond grading-an indication of the standard achieved-to include comments on the particular strengths and weaknesses of a student's performance. While the nature and frequency of such feedback will vary with the course, the University of Guelph is committed to providing students with appropriate and timely feedback on their work. Instructors must provide meaningful and constructive feedback prior to the 40th class day. This may include but is not exclusive to returning papers, assignments, in-class or laboratory quizzes, laboratory reports, or mid-term examinations prior to the 40th class day. In research and independent study courses, instructors must provide students with a realistic idea of their performance by discussing progress directly with the student and, if necessary, identify specific areas for improvement. This may include the assessment of a research plan, literature review, annotated bibliography, oral presentation or other assessment tools.

Resolution 1

That the assignment of grades at the University of Guelph be based on clearly defined standards, which are to be published in the Undergraduate Calendar for the benefit of faculty and students and that the definitions for each of the numerical grade range (letter grades) be as follows:

  • 80 - 100 (A) Excellent. An outstanding performance in which the student demonstrates a superior grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to go beyond the given material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a high degree of creative and/or logical thinking, a superior ability to organize, to analyze, and to integrate ideas, and a thorough familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 70 - 79 (B) Good. A more than adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a thorough grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to organize and examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a good understanding of the relevant issues and a familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 60 - 69 (C) Acceptable. An adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a generally adequate grasp of the subject matter and a moderate ability to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student displays an adequate understanding of the relevant issues, and a general familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 50 - 59 (D) Minimally Acceptable. A barely adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a familiarity with the subject matter, but whose attempts to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner are only partially successful. The student displays some understanding of the relevant issues, and some familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.

  • 0 - 49 (F) Fail. An inadequate performance.

Resolution 2

That instructors must use evaluation criteria which measure quality of performance and not merely activity. Unannounced evaluations or surprise assessments may not be used for course assessment purposes or to determine course grades.

Resolution 3

That instructors are not to use predetermined, arbitrary distributions in the assignment of grades in individual courses.

Resolution 4

Part A

That, by the start of the course selection period for the semester in which the course will be offered, instructors will provide a course description for posting to the department web site. This course description shall include a brief summary of the course topics and requirements, the general format of the course, and the methods of evaluation.

Part B

That, by the first class meeting of the course (by the end of the first week of classes for distance education courses), the instructor must provide students with a written course outline. The course outline may be distributed either a) in class or b) electronically via the official course website on CourseLink and must include a detailed description of course requirements, the methods of evaluation, and the timing of the evaluations.

Resolution 5

That the methods and/or timing of evaluation as indicated on the course outline should not be changed after the first class meeting except under strictly adhered to conditions. Notice of proposed change and of the class at which consent is to be sought, must be given at a previously scheduled class. Where the change is supported by the instructor and is consistent with University policies and procedures such change may be enacted with the unanimous consent of students. If unanimous consent of the students has not been obtained, the change may be enacted only with the approval of the chair of the department and only if alternative and equitable accommodation is available to students opposed to the change.

Resolution 6

That all term tests, assignments, laboratory reports, etc., should be returned to, or discussed with students, without undue delay and in any case before the last day of the examination period. If the material is necessary for the preparation of the final examination, it must be returned or discussed as soon as possible and in any case no later than three days before the examination.

Resolution 7

It is recognized that multiple sections of the same course may differ in terms of texts and other academic resource materials, teaching methods and formats, and evaluation procedures used. However, the department is responsible for ensuring that the different sections are achieving common learning objectives with a common set of academic standards and expectations. The department chair is responsible for ensuring the consistency of final grade distribution across sections over time. Where a course has more than one section writing a final examination, the examination date and time will be the same for all sections.

Department also refers to schools and to colleges (where multiple section courses are offered by, or coordinated by the Office of a College Dean).

Resolution 8

That each department must keep under continual review its grading procedures and matters that relate to academic standards to make sure the University's policies are being applied.

Resolution 9

That normally all courses at the 1000 and 2000 levels shall have final examinations and that exceptions require the approval of the Chair of the Department.

The Board of Undergraduate Studies has by formal resolution undertaken to do as follows:

  • to specify clearly the administrative responsibility of chairs with respect to the methods of evaluation, the setting of examinations and the determining of grades in courses in their departments.

  • to review the effects of the pass by course system on the academic standards of the University.

  • to request each program to review its overall academic standards and, in particular, its requirements for graduation.

  • to examine whether the prerequisites at the secondary school level required for admission to the University of Guelph are adequate.

  • from time to time, to review and monitor the academic standards across the University to ensure that there is consistency and that the regulations of the University are being adhered to.

Resolution 10

Senate resolved on June 21, 1977 that in determining grades for written assignments the instructor should take into consideration the student's ability to use correctly and effectively the language appropriate to the assignment.

Resolution 11

Senate resolved on March 21, 1978 that the chair should review, prior to the commencement of classes, the manner in which a faculty member intends to conduct a course and to determine final grades. If the chair disagrees with the faculty member's intention or subsequently with the implementation of the stated intentions, the chair will discuss his/her concerns with the faculty member. If agreement cannot be reached, the matter will be referred to an appropriate department committee which will advise the chair in reaching his/her decision. The advice may include a recommendation on examination procedures.

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